When I last bought jelly beans, I ended up with one black jelly bean that I don't want to eat. I could just throw it out, but that seems like a waste. Also:

  • My dad's recipe for chicken wings/drumsticks/thighs includes star anise
    • Recipe: the chicken is braised till mostly cooked in water containing ginger, garlic, and star anise, then most of the water is poured out and soy sauce, oyster sauce, and brown sugar are added and it's simmered a bit longer till the liquid forms a thick sauce
  • I have chicken wings (and the other ingredients above) but no star anise
  • Google informs me that the black licorice in black jelly beans tastes like star anise

You can probably see where I'm going here. If I add the jelly bean to the braising liquid, a) will it contain any chemicals or something that shouldn't be boiled and b) will the result be similar to adding star anise?

(P.S. I can just cook the chicken without the star anise, it still tastes good. I just kind of want to see if this weird use for jelly beans is reasonable.)

  • 3
    I don't think 1 single jelly bean will change anything one way or the other.
    – Max
    Jul 31, 2019 at 22:23
  • 2
    Sounds like a fun experiment. By the way, you might find this question useful, it is about flavoring milk (for panna cotta) with jellybeans... might be a starting point for flavoring other liquids :)
    – Megha
    Aug 1, 2019 at 0:19

1 Answer 1


a) Jelly beans are made of sugar, starch, flavorings, and pectin. As such, it's fine to boil, mash, roast, fry, steam, or really do anything you want with them. The worst possible consequence is them sticking to be bottom of the pot and being hard to remove.

b) First, black jelly beans are generally flavored with licorice and not anise, and star anise tastes different from anise seed. So this would definitely be a case of substituting a distinctly different, though similar-tasting, spice. Second, a single jelly bean is unlikely to have enough flavor to affect the flavor of the broth; you would probably need to add several.

So, my recommendation if you really want to try this is to use 6-10 black jelly beans, wrapped in cheesecloth or in an empty tea bag so that they don't stick to the bottom of the pot. And tell us how it works out!

  • 2
    Thanks for the detailed answer! I'm using this as an excuse to buy more jelly beans. :D Honestly I'm not sure I'll be able to taste the difference regardless, but I might try it.
    – Elenna123
    Aug 1, 2019 at 21:22
  • Hey, always happy to encourage wierd cooking experiments.
    – FuzzyChef
    Aug 1, 2019 at 22:14

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